Fires near me: Wytaliba community fights fire near Glen Innes

HORRIBLE: The smoke from out of control fires in the region could be clearly seen in the middle of Glen Innes. Photo: Andrew Messenger
HORRIBLE: The smoke from out of control fires in the region could be clearly seen in the middle of Glen Innes. Photo: Andrew Messenger

The community of Wytaliba fought off a serious out-of-control fire yesterday afternoon, after a spot fire close to town turned bad and threatened homes.

Glen Innes mayor Carol Sparks, who lives on a property in the area, said the blaze began with a spot fire in a remote part of her land.

"It was panic stations yesterday afternoon, it was horrible," she said.

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Her car was packed up and ready to leave. But instead the 80 or so residents of Wytaliba joined the fight.

"We couldn't see where (the fire) was coming from, there was billowing black smoke.

"It was quite scary."

She said RFS helicopters and dozens of trucks had been dispatched to tackle the blaze, which was for a time Saturday afternoon, classed as emergency.

The fire actually got to Wytaliba proper, said Mayor Sparks.

"We're very lucky; it went up the ridge and away from people's property.

"It was very close to quite a few houses on the southern side (of Wytaliba)."

"It's still burning quite strongly but there's no wind at the moment and in a way the smoke is keeping it cooler; it's a strange situation that we're in.

"Most of us are raking and preparing our houses. We're going to defend until such time as we feel we have to leave."

RFS advises that at the moment threat to property and life has relatively subsided.

But the blaze continues to burn out of control in a remote area around a kilometre from Mayor Carol Sparks' house.

The area is so remote RFS crews are using motorbikes for access.

She said in 35 years in the community she has seen fires before, but has never seen the countryside so dry or conditions so dangerous.

"The trees are dying and they're all shedding their leaves so there's a lot of litter on the ground. Everybody's raking and trying to clear the leaves away. It's the burning embers that are going to spot ahead.

"We're lucky that it's in the coolest time of the season. I dread to think (what would happen otherwise).

"It'd be catastrophic if it was in high winds and hot weather."

This story 'Panic stations': out of control fire threatens homes first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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